All your data at your fingertips
Cloud computing defines life per month, refined to perfection by Google.
In the developed world, scenes of searching for the right cable, hidden somewhere in an undignified plastic bag that will eventually also cough up a giant portable hard drive, are becoming a thing of the past.
When we do see someone swearing under their breath because they’re having trouble charging their hard drive, or realising in bewilderment that they have left the plastic square of valuable data, photos, films, and music at home, we cannot but shake our heads. The solution for these and similar frustrations has been on the market for a while; it’s called cloud computing.
The fast-growing importance of cloud computing is highlighted by the names of its most visible providers: Google, Dropbox, Apple, Microsoft.
You’d be hard-pressed to find purer representatives of the subscription economy. In exchange for a monthly fee, these companies allow users to store and access their data – any place, any time. All you need is internet access.
The most advanced providers of cloud computing are Dropbox, Apple with its service iCloud, Microsoft with OneDrive, and Google with Drive, which is the most prevalent of them all. Google started drawing users to its cloud years ago, when it introduced the then-revolutionary Gmail.
How did it manage to stand out from the competition? Many employees of small companies or large business systems still encounter the same issue that most email users faced back then: lack of space, requiring constant deletion of old messages. Gmail was the first to do away with the problem, giving its users a gigabyte of space for their inboxes. Today, 1.4 billion users of Google’s email have 15 gigabytes of inbox space each.
But we need to be careful with this number; Google offers its Drive service (15 GB) to any Gmail user. Among users who are paying for cloud computing, Dropbox is still the most popular, which according to CloudRail controlled over 47.3 percent of the user market in 2016; by comparison, Google had only a 27 percent share in the same year.
Most of Google Drive’s paying users pay 9.99 euros each month for a terabyte of space to store their mass of smartphone-recorded photos and videos, films, music, and important documents.
Gmail proved to be an excellent tool that helped Google recruit new users; many among them decided to expand their activities into the Google Drive cloud computing service. According to a report by The Verge, the number of subscribers to Google Drive exceeded a billion in the summer of 2018. This number might soon grow, because Google, even though its browser is not present in China, intends to penetrate the Far East market with cloud computing services, where it is said to be able to count on the support of the technology giant Tencent.
Google Drive offers its subscribers 100 gigabytes of space for 1.99 euros, and 10 terabytes for 99.99 euros. The most popular option is still the terabyte for 9.99 euros per month, which is enough for most subscribers to store their mass of smartphone-recorded photos and videos that sync with the cloud automatically, as well as films, music, and important documents. The creation of the latter, in the form of tables, presentations, or texts, is enabled by the Google Docs service, which the technology giant is offering along with the Google Drive cloud.
Google Drive has long been extremely popular with users, but it doesn’t offer any revolutionary innovations or prices, compared to its competitors. Dropbox is offering its subscribers a terabyte of space for 9.92 dollars. Microsoft's OneDrive is even more affordable, offering a terabyte of space for as little as 6.99 dollars, and Apple’s iCloud is the cheapest; its subscribers pay 9.99 dollars a month in the USA and 9.99 euros a month in Europe for two terabytes.
The most important advantages of Google’s and other providers’ clouds are accessibility (via any platform with a username and password) and security. Security? The extensive media reports on hacker attacks justify safety concerns regarding cloud data, but if you think that your information will be safer on an external drive in your drawer, you are mistaken. 67 percent of data loss is caused by hard drive malfunctions; in the USA alone, over 140,000 crash each week, as reported by Consolidated Technologies.
Life in the cloud will do away with such risk and is well worth the monthly fees charged by Google and others.